I was an early supporter of Jan Wampler's attempt to place a full page ad in the New York Times expressing Fellows' support of Black Lives Matter. We are at a time, where, maybe, just maybe, we can implement real change. I remain ready to contribute what I can when Jan is ready to launch.
But, as a Fellow pointed out early in the conversation, "we can walk and chew gum at the same time." Jan selected the New York Times because it is our nation's newspaper of record. As a transplanted NYC Fellow, I am proud to live and practice in New York. I don't think I am alone in having a certain conceit as an NYC Fellow that we have the opportunity and responsibility to be a leading component of the College of Fellows. In that spirit let us as a group ask the Center for Architecture, AIANY and all of its subcommittees, task forces, and publications to make the following commitment:
That for the next five years, all new initiatives will have as their focus communities of color, minority architects and students, and/or other circumstances of unjust social inequality in our profession and in the City of New York.
Surely we have built up enough debt, whether through neglect or intent, to make this an imperative for our profession's local organizations. Five years of excessive focus on "others" might lead us to a more just path in the future. Furthermore, we should ask the Center to promptly hire an underemployed minority architect to facilitate and monitor conformance to this commitment.
I hope you New York Fellows who share the desire for a more just New York and U.S. will join in this call.
Be well, safe and free.Mike Mense FAIAHamilton HeightsNew York City